It has not been a particularly great week for Ireland or TIF. As the International Monetary Fund moved a step closer to becoming the Irish Monetary Fund and TIF found out that 5am does exist, Ireland barely got out of neutral in their final international game of ‘10 against Norway.
Spare a thought for young Seamus Coleman. The 22 year-old full-back come winger has become a key fixture for Everton in the Premiership but sat out Ireland’s midweek defeat. Even a cameraman at the Aviva got in on the action, zooming in on the young Donegal man, as a nation willed Giovanni Trapattoni to bring him on.
As the Aviva’s screens showed a rather cheerless Seamus Coleman on the bench, the blog thought how it would feel to be “the brightest young talent” and called up for a game that “didn’t mean anything” (Kevin Doyle), to sit in the rain for the best part of 90 minutes. Although not a situation that happened often during TIF’s illustrious youth football career, a situation the blog imagines would leave it feeling less than chirpy nonetheless.
While Giovanni Trapattoni’s earnings as Irish manager close in on €6 million, having come close to qualifying for a World Cup (Brian Kerr and Steve Staunton did little worse), TIF sipped black coffee and wondered if Coleman was indeed Ireland’s and football’s version of Chuck Norris.
Trapattoni has time and again stated the importance of his players to be playing regularly for their clubs. Coleman ticks that box, and at the highest level.
Even if Trapattoni has not watched him and other Irish young players in person, as his assistant Marco Tardelli seems to, and ignores comments from David Moyes at Everton, he should have at least seen Coleman on tv. The blog, for one, only has to look at his impact in its fantasy football team to realise he is worthy of a substitute appearance at least.
Yesterday El Trap was none too pleased with criticism he has come under and appeared to suggest the problem lay with the players’ inability to play the Trap way. “I said before that the children from southern Italy or Napoli, they are not smarter but we pay attention to every little detail and situation. And there are many situations that determine a game.”
Given Trapattoni has had over two years with the team, one would hope the players would know what is expected of them. But what exactly the Trap way is is open for discussion. Recent results indicate that playing defensive minded players like Paul Green or Glenn Whelan clearly does not work.
At the same time, by his omission to date of James McCarthy (absent on Wednesday through injury), he does not favour creative midfielders. With his dealings with Andy and Steven Reid as a precedent, it is going to be a long wait for talented Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford. Currently on a loan spell at League One’s Plymouth Argyle, TIF has watched him in action for Ireland’s U21 side and he has shown his class.
While Giovanni Trapattoni gave balance as the reasoning behind leaving Coleman to enjoy Wednesday’s match from the sidelines, which felt like a bad training game, Erik Huseklepp chatted gleefully to the Norwegian media. The forward, whose 86th minute winner gave Ireland another reason to feel glum, took a minute to tell TIF that he thought Ireland would be better. We agree Erik. We agree!